Finch Technologies announced today that it partnered by HTC to allow their 6DoF controllers to be compatible with any VIVE Wave headset. Qualcomm also tested the controllers and confirmed their compatibility with its VR845 reference headset.
VIVE Wave is HTC’s platform (OS, runtime & SDK) for standalone VR headsets. It has already been adopted by 15 hardware manufacturers (mostly in China). That means that these controllers should work with HTC’s $599 Vive Focus standalone headset.
What’s unique about the FinchShift controllers is that they can work without any cameras at all, even on a 3DoF headset. The controllers mainly rely on their accelerometer and gyroscope (collectively called the IMU) rather than an optical solution. Normally, pure IMU 6DoF tracking is not possible. But Finch utilizes dual armband straps which also have IMUs. The tracking from the headset and the four devices combined with a skeletal model is used to derive an estimate of the positions.
Finch claims that their controllers have 2mm – 25mm accuracy and 27ms latency. These are not impressive numbers. Controllers like Oculus Touch and HTC Vive wands boast sub-mm accuracy and around 2ms latency.
However, if the headset does have cameras, the LEDs on the controllers will activate and be tracked by them. This should improve tracking quality, although the positioning of the LEDs on the main handle rather than on a tracking ring will likely mean they are often occluded.
We have an appointment to try the FinchShift controllers at CES. We’re skeptical of some of the company’s claims, but excited to see what they have to show. We’ll post our detailed impressions after the demo.